Further to the excellent intro to Philip Fisher here, we recently came across his checklist for investing in stocks in "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings" and thought it was worth reproducing here. Fisher was one of the most famous investors in his story. As his son, Kenneth (renowned as an investor in his right) wrote in his obituary: "Among the pioneer, formative thinkers in the growth stock school of investing, [Philip] may have been the last professional witnessing the 1929 crash to go on to become a big name. His career spanned 74 years, but was more diverse than growth stock picking.. For decades, big names in investing claimed Dad as a mentor, role model and inspiration."
15 Points to Look for in a Common Stock
- Does the company have products or services with sufficient market potential to make possible a sizeable increase in sales for at least several years?
- Does the management have a determination to continue to develop products or processes that will still further increase total sales potentials when the growth potentials of currently attractive product lines have largely been exploited?
- How effective are the company's research and development efforts in relation to its size?
- Does the company have an above-average sales organization?
- Does the company have a worthwhile profit margin?
- What is the company doing to maintain or improve profit margins?
- Does the company have outstanding labor and personnel relations?
- Does the company have outstanding executive relations?
- Does the company have depth to its management?
- How good are the company's cost analysis and accounting controls?
- Are there other aspects of the business, somewhat peculiar to the industry involved, which will give the investor important clues as to how outstanding the company will be in relation to its competition?
- Does the company have a short-range or long-range outlook in regard to profits?
- In the foreseeable future, will the growth of the company require sufficient equity financing so that the larger number of shares then outstanding will largely cancel the existing stockholders' benefit from this anticipated growth?
- Does the management talk freely to investors about its affairs when things are going well but "clam up" when troubles or disappointments occur?
- Does the company have a management of unquestionable integrity?